I'm here at National Religious Broadcasters in Nashville, as thousands of representatives of radio and TV stations, media ministries, churches, and more gather for fellowship, training, and networking. The festivities kick off officially tonight, but our team has been here since yesterday, and I've been involved in preparing our booth, where starting tomorrow, I will be interviewing a significant number of ministry leaders for airplay on The Meeting House.
But, even though I'm away from home, "The 3" must go on, and I've selected some diverse subjects for this week's installment, including a rather unique and unsettling White House meeting, a gambling standoff in Alabama, and the passing of the baton in a high-profile broadcast ministry.
3 - White House officials hold meeting with non-theists
A meeting on Friday involving White House officials and a number of representatives of the Secular Coalition of America, which includes organizations that demonstrate a non-religious, non-believing point of view, attracted quite of a bit of attention simply because it was presumably the first time an Administration had met with such a group, which wanted to call attention to a variety of issues, including faith-based initiatives. Such notable atheists as Christopher Hitchens and Michael Newdow are part of the board of directors of the coalition.
The Christian Post had a report on the meeting.
2 - Gambling opponents stage rally, protesters attend and interrupt speakers
On Tuesday of this week, pastors, church leaders, and citizens concerned about the prospect of expanded gambling in Alabama were invited to gather on the steps of the Alabama State House to hear from a number of speakers who would provide encouragement to stand strong in the fight against legalized casino-style gambling (incorrectly termed "electronic bingo") in Alabama. Unfortunately, gambling proponents, many of whom were apparently employees of several now-closed gaming facilities, showed up early for a pro-gambling rally that was scheduled later that afternoon, and proceeded to disrupt the earlier, anti-gambling event. The result was a sad contrast between the rude supporters of gambling who showed total disrespect for the Governor and First Lady of Alabama, as well as other speakers, and the anti-gambling people, many of them Christians who just want to make a difference and oppose gambling on moral, as well as economic grounds. Apparently, the gambling proponents don't want those of differing opinions to have their say.
CitizenLink from Focus on the Family Action picked up on the story. Here is a review from the ALCAP (AL Citizens Action Program) website.
Gambling legislation was held off for another week, as supporters may not have the 21 votes necessary to bring a bill forward, allowing for a statewide vote on "electronic bingo" at 10 sites in Alabama to the floor. Meanwhile, the Governor's Task Force raided a facility that opened this week in Chickasaw. The Alabama Baptist had a report.
1 - Dobson's last "Focus on the Family" radio broadcast marks end of an era
Dr. James Dobson, who founded Focus on the Family and led the ministry for some 33 years, was featured on his final Focus broadcast on Friday. Along with new President and CEO Jim Daly and Pat Carauna, Chairman of the Focus on the Family Board, Dr. Dobson shared reflections from his heart, and Daly and Carauna expressed their appreciation for Dr. Dobson's outstanding contributions to Focus and the impact he has made on so many lives. Dr. Dobson will now move on to host a new program, "Family Talk", which will also include his son, Ryan.
World Magazine had this coverage.
Again, Dr. Dobson reiterated that he does not intend for his new ministry to be in competition with Focus, and expressed his strong belief that he needs to be a voice speaking into the culture. The Focus broadcast will now feature Jim Daly, Juli Slattery, and John Fuller, and the first official post-Dobson broadcast will air Monday, with highlights of a recent chapel service with Dr. Dobson and his wife, Shirley, at Focus on the Family.
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